Unlocking the blockchain – An introduction to bitcoin and distributed ledger technology

While not many vendors in South Africa accepts cryptocurrency as a valid payment method, Bitcoin has started taking over the entire world. Bitcoin is an innovative payment network and a new kind of money. Invented by an unknown programmer, or a group of programmers, under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Published in 2008, and was released as open-source software in 2009.

And although the Rand continuous to weaken, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is growing fast, with currency values climbing in 2017. Bitcoin enjoyed an increase in price of 63% during the last month and trade volumes almost ten folded on our local exchanges.

In light of this, Sabinet hosted the annual Organisation of South African Law Libraries (OSALL) breakfast workshop in Centurion that focused on this very topical matter and the impact thereof.

Norton Rose Fulbright’ Kerri Crawford and Rakhee Bhikha, based in Johannesburg, shared mind-boggling insights with law librarians and other professionals from the legal industry.

One might be familiar with cryptocurrencies, digital currencies or virtual currencies, but they all mean the same thing. Bitcoins hold many benefits in which they are readily available and the cost of transactions are very low. None of these however are linked to a bank or country.

Bitcoins are preferred by many online patrons, because of its real-time processing, easy accessible and most likely the anonymity factor to it. These days, you can purchase almost anything using bitcoins form coffee to houses, and you can use it in any country.

But the real question everyone is asking is how can something so anonymous and acquired so easily over the internet be legal? Every day we hear about how people are using their hard-earned Rands and buying bitcoins – whether it is for an investment or the thrill of buying internet currency and watching it grow by the day, sometimes even doubling overnight. Fact is Bitcoins are changing the financial industry the same way web changed the publishing industry.

Bitcoins are ‘mined’, using computing power in a distributed network. This network also processes transactions made with the virtual currency, effectively making bitcoin its own payment network.

Only 21 million bitcoins can ever be created by miners. However, these coins can be divided into smaller parts (the smallest divisible amount is one hundred millionth of a bitcoin and is called a ‘Satoshi’, after the founder of bitcoin).

Specialist Portals vs Google for Online Legal Information

Specialist Portals vs Google for Online Legal Information | Sabinet

In this article, we will take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using Google as a source for legal information online, and compare it to an online legal information portal.

The concept might seem slightly strange at first.  After all, why would you use a broad-based search engine when you have access to a specialist online legal information service?  The answer to this question is familiarity.

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The University of KwaZulu-Natal is now live with OCLC WorldShare Management Services®

University becomes first African institution to implement OCLC’s cloud based library management services

LEIDEN, Netherlands, February 10, 2015 – The University of Kwazulu-Natal, a leading African university, is now using OCLC WorldShare Management Services (WMS) as its library management system.

WMS provide cloud-based library management and discovery applications in an integrated suite, offering librarians a comprehensive and cost-effective way to manage library workflows efficiently, and improve end users’ access to library collections and services. Read More

Things I want for Christmas

This weekend I spotted the first Christmas decorations in the shopping malls. The silly season is officially upon us. Browsing the net alerted me to a number of nifty new gadgets that are available. My kids are still trying to persuade me to get them a Sony PSP3. I on the other hand would rather use the money to get me a Garmin Forerunner Running GPS and heart-rate monitor. At my age its best to check what the heart is doing during strenuous exercise 🙂

Anyway, while looking at the prices of all these toys I was reminded that over a period of several years there has always been nice electronic appliances, tools and gadgets that I wanted but which always remained out of reach due to the washing machine and microwave oven (or any of the household appliances required in the medium household). 🙂 Of all my audiophile fantasies the Black Widow Vacuum Tube amplifier and a set of KEF Reference Series speakers always topped the list. In the end I sadly had to settle on a (now 15 year old) Proton Amplifier with matching speakers. It still gets the neighbors upset when I light it up with my Dire Straits (DDD – do you remember this CD audio recording classification), Brothers in Arms CD.

So – it was interest that I noted Fatman’s new “iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2”. What a sleek looking device. And very pretty with those exposed vacuum tubes. Let the good times roll…

Visit the Fatman Website for more information on this slick looking amplifier and iPod dock… Take a look at their speakers too. Very pleasing aesthetics…



How big is yours ?


I took delivery of my Sony Microvault 16Gb USB memory stick last week. Although there are bigger sticks available, such as 32Gb, I tend to go with the popular brands. I suppose it makes no difference. There is no moving parts so it is unlikely that it will get damaged. Internet shopping sites in South Africa indicate the price at approx ZAR 625.00. Not bad for 16Gb worth of capacity. But it is only a third the price of a 1.5 Tb SATA drive as opposed to being almost a hundredth of the disks capacity. I know – its unfair to compare the two. But I am amazed at the differences in price between the various storage media types. The one that still boggles my mind is the difference in price between Compact Flash and SD memory cards. Compact Flash is almost always more expensive. Does the data transfer speed affect the price ? I am just happy that I can copy 3500 MP3 songs at a time onto my Sony USB stick. That is 10 days worth of continious music played through my USB  compatible car radio…

The iPhone 3G S was launched in South Africa

I follow the News24 feed on Twitter and just read that the new iPhone 3G S will be launched in South Africa today. The “S” refers to “Speed” because of its faster processor. Not that I have ever had complaints about the older model’s speed. Other than that the new model looks the same as the 3G iphone which came out last year. It also sports longer battery life, an internal compass, a video camera and a photo camera with better resolution and auto-focus…

Very nice…